Vienna Charter. Shaping the Future Together.

The City of Vienna started the Vienna Charter project on 19 March 2012. The Vienna Charter forms part of the coalition government agreement between the Social Democratic Party of Vienna and the Vienna Green Party. It contains the basic principles for good neighbourly relations in the city.

These were the most important steps in the development of the Vienna Charter:

  • The Charter was developed in a completely new, open and transparent direct communication with the Viennese. The City of Vienna brought people together and start fruitful discussions in the framework of the Charter project.
  • This type of public participation is unique in Europe. Everyone who lives in Vienna was welcome to join the project and express their ideas and suggestions for good neighbourly relations in the city.
  • Every Viennese was welcome to organise Charter talks.
  • The City of Vienna provided moderators free of charge for the talks.
  • From 19 March 2012 the Viennese were welcome to submit all topics they consider crucial for good neighbourly relations.

The project ran for several months and resulted in a collection of basic principles of living together respectfully and good neighbourly relations gathered by the people who live in Vienna.

Direct democracy for more solidarity in our city

Mayor Michael Häupl, Deputy Mayor Maria Vassilakou, and Executive City Councillor for Integration Sandra Frauenberger on the strategic approach of the project:

The Viennese are right to be proud on the high quality of living in our city. Social cohesion and a climate of respect are particularly important at a time when we all face new challenges. It is therefore crucial how we interact with each other in everyday life. Good neighbourly relations cannot be enacted by law. The people who live in Vienna need to come to an understanding and formulate mutually acceptable solutions. The Vienna Charter provides the framework for good neighbourly relations, actively promotes the dialogue between the citizens and builds solidarity.

The Vienna Charter is an instrument of direct democracy and responds to a new understanding of politics. Mayor Häupl, Deputy Mayor Vassilakou, and Executive City Councillor Frauenberger highly welcome the citizens’ demand for public participation in addition to elections.

Häupl, Vassilakou, Frauenberger:

The Vienna Charter aims to set the course for a good and respectful climate in our city in cooperation with all our citizens.

It’s about good relations between all citizens

The Vienna Charter is based on diversity of opinions. Controversial discussions are welcome! Persons of all ages and with different lifestyles, attitudes, professions, opinions and educational backgrounds came together to discuss and develop the Vienna Charter. It’s about all districts, all neighbourhoods, about entrepreneurs and employees, children and senior citizens, women and men, persons with special needs, people who were born in Vienna and who moved to the city later in life, persons with different religious beliefs and worldviews – briefly: It’s about all of us because good neighbourly relations are vital for us all.

Partners in the Charter project

The Charter project involved many partners to motivate a large number of people to participate in the project. Organisations, associations and businesses who are interested in actively supporting good neighbourly relations in Vienna were welcome as partners of the Charter project. They organised Charter talks, invited their members, employees and customers to join the talks and supported the communication and information processes of the project.

Many organisations and businesses supported the process such as the association "Verein Wirtschaft für Integration", large bakeries, many youth organisations including "Kinderfreunde" and the Catholic youth organisation "Jungschar", Caritas, the department for youth work of the Vienna City Administration, taxi businesses, the neighbourhood service "Wohnpartner", local urban renewal offices, the Austrian handball champions "Fivers Margareten", and the social partners. This very diverse group of partners reflects the broad basis the Vienna Charter was built on.

Charter talks

The Charter talks were the centrepiece of the project. They started in April 2012 based on the topic clusters collected in the online dialogue from 19 March to 1 April. Organisations, businesses and anyone who was interested could organise Charter talks. Charter talks could take place anywhere in Vienna and should always consider the following questions:

  • What is important for good neighbourly relations in Vienna?
  • What do the participants expect from each other? What are they prepared to do?
  • What should form part of the Vienna Charter?

Moderators and online platforms

The City of Vienna will provide moderators for all Charter talks free of charge. They accompany the discussion process, sum up the results, and put them on the online platform. A skilled moderator will also take care of the online forum 24/7. All users of the online forum are asked to adhere to the rules of netiquette at all times.

Advisory committee

Transparency, openness, and credibility are the key principles of the Vienna Charter project. An independent advisory committee has been established to safeguard these principles and act as arbitration panel to resolve any disputes that may arise.

Timeline: The implementation of the Vienna Charter.

The participation process is based on the basic principles that are non-negotiable and that our society is based on such as human rights, basic rights, women´s rights, and children´s rights.

  • 19 March to 1 April 2012: Collecting the topics
    In the first two-week phase the Viennese could nominate the topics they consider crucial for good neighbourly relations online or by phone. Any suggestions and ideas that seem highly important to the Viennese were welcome! Online submission of topics starts on Monday, 19 March 2012 at 6 am.
  • 1 to 12 April 2012: Topic clusters
    Members of the advisory board worked through the topics and developed topic clusters to facilitate the following discussions on the different topics.
  • 13 April to 14 October 2012: Offline and online Charter talks
    The topic clusters were discussed between mid-April and mid-October.
  • 28 September to 14 October 2012: Last phase
    In the last 17 days of the project phase all participants had the opportunity to join the discussion online and discuss and comment on the results.
  • November 2012: Presentation of the results
    The "Vienna Charter. Shaping the Future Together." was presented to the public in November.

Project management / Project office

The Administrative Group of Executive City Councillor Sandra Frauenberger is responsible for the project management of the Vienna Charter project. A project office has been established to serve as contact point for everyone who is interested and wants to join the project.

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